Candlemas: The Presentation of Christ in the Temple


This day marks the completion of forty days since the birth of Jesus, when Mary and Joseph took the child to the Temple in Jerusalem. The requirement in Levitical law was for Mary to be ‘cleansed’, the completion of her purification following the birth of a male child. Until that day, she could touch no holy thing nor enter the sanctuary. Yet on seeing the holy family, Simeon praised God and acclaimed the infant as ‘the light to enlighten the. The image of Christ as the Light has led to the celebration of light countering darkness, with candles often taking a central place in the observance.

Exciting Holiness (first edition)


At Cowley St John the Feast of the Presentation is kept on its proper day (2 February), and the Blessing of Candles is transferred to the following Sunday. It is customary for people to bring to these Sunday services candles for use in their homes this calendar year to be blessed in church. The candles to be used in the three churches of the parish this year are also blessed at Candlemas.


Friday 2 February: Candlemas Day

9am                           Eucharist (said)                                      St Alban the Martyr


 Sunday 4 February: Sunday after Candlemas

There are two said Eucharists today:

8am                  Eucharist (said)                                       St Mary & St John

6.15pm            Eucharist (said)                                       St Mary & St John


The two principal Eucharists, at which candles are blessed, are followed by the Parish Lunch:


9.30am             Sung Eucharist with Blessing of Candles       St Alban the Martyr

Preacher: Br James Koester, Superior, the Society of St John the Evangelist

The Eucharist is followed by refreshments in St Alban’s Hall.


10.45am     Choral Eucharist, Procession, Blessing of Candles    St Mary & St John

Preacher: Br James Koester, Superior, the Society of St John the Evangelist

The Eucharist is followed by tea, coffee, sparkling wine, and other refreshments


Br James Koester SSJE


12.45pm         Parish Lunch                                           Richard Benson Hall

This, the ‘Last Lunch of Christmas’, is a catered buffet of cold hams, turkeys, and cuts of beef, with a variety of salads, cheeses, and accompaniments. The traditional Christmastide ‘Boar’s Head Carol’ is sung.

Guests are invited to bring their own wine or other drinks. Water only is provided.

Tickets are now SOLD OUT. To be put on the waiting list, please email

Please let others know about this event on Facebook: